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Saturday August 1st, 2015 4:18PM

City planning staff recommends approval of rezoning for Lanier Plaza

By Ken Stanford Reporter
GAINESVILLE - A rezoning request, which would clear the way for a renovated Lanier Plaza shopping center on Thompson Bridge Road, has gotten a "thumbs up" from the city's planning staff.

The applicant, Polestar Development LLC, wants to rezone the property, located just north of Enota, in order to redevelop it for a 42,000 square foot grocery store and a 12-pump fuel service station. The existing 53,000 square foot shopping center is to be demolished.

The staff is recommending "conditional approval" of the rezoning request, stating in its report "It appears that the proposed use is a logical redevelopment of the subject property and is consistent with other shopping centers within the general area along Thompson Bridge Road."

The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board is to consider the matter in a called meeting Tuesday at 5:30 at the city Justice Center on Queen City Parkway.

The recommendation being sent to the planning board and other city officials addresses a number of matters such as traffic, how the end result would fit existing development in that area, etc.

ADJACENT LAND USE AND ZONING

The subject property is located on the west side of Thompson Bridge Road between Brandon Place and Virginia Circle. The adjacent and nearby uses include single-family homes to the north zoned Residential-I (R-I) as well as the BB&T branch bank zoned Planned Unit Development (P-U-D). To the east there is a vacant commercial building (former Blockbuster Video) zoned Regional Business (R-B), Taco Bell Restaurant zoned General Business (G-B), SunTrust branch bank and single-family homes zoned Neighborhood Business (N-B) and Residential-I (R-I). The property to the south is zoned Neighborhood Business (N-B) and is the
site of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. The Brandon Place apartment complex is located to the west and is zoned Residential-II (R-II).

TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY SUMMARY

"A Traffic Impact Study (TIS) was performed for the proposed application on Thursday, March 27, 2014 by Wilburn Engineering, LLC. For the purpose of this study the Thompson Bridge Road intersection with Brandon Place and the proposed development driveway were analyzed.

The study revealed that the proposed development is expected to generate an average of 6,627 daily two-way trips, with 143 new two-way trips occurring during the (morning) peak hour and 310 new two-way trips occurring during the (afternoon) peak hour. These calculations include the closed Blockbuster Video retail building which is under separate ownership.

Under the current conditions, the study shows traffic operating poorly during the (morning) Peak Hour when exiting onto Thompson Bridge Road from the studied intersections. Traffic exiting and entering the studied intersections operates poorly during the (afternoon) Peak Hour.

When the project is completed these same traffic movements will be further impaired; however, northbound and southbound through traffic movements along Thompson Bridge Road will continue to operate at acceptable levels. A capacity analysis was done for a traffic signal located at the Thompson Bridge Road / driveway intersection. The results show the signal would improve the (morning and afternoon) Peak Hour traffic to a stable level or better at the Thompson Bridge Road / driveway intersection.

Recommendations from the TIS include conducting a signal warrant study to determine if a signal is justified and where it should be located. As well, a 100 foot, north bound turn lane should be restriped within the center, two-way, left turn lane as not to impede the southbound left turns from Brandon Place."

Lanier Plaza's current tenants have been vocal in opposing their landlord's plans.
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